Universiteit Leiden

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Kai Shmushko

Guest Researcher

K. Shmushko MA
+31 71 527 2727

I am a researcher of religion and philosophy. My specialty is the Chinese context with emphasis on China, Taiwan, and Buddhism. My current (ethnographic) project deals with religious groups in contemporary China, and the revival of Tibetan Buddhism among Han Chinese practitioners. I look into the modalities of community formation, religious network building, the politics of religion and state. My academic trajectory includes Sinology training, comparative philosophy, and Chinese philosophical and religious traditions (Buddhism, Daoism, and hermeneutics of Chinese philosophical traditions). I am especially interested in frameworks and aspects of Material Culture, Material Religion, Religious textual hybridity, Religion and economy, and state and religion dynamics.

More information about Kai Shmushko

Fields of interest

  • Chinese philosophy
  • Theory of Religion
  • Ethnography
  • Material Culture
  • Religion and Economics
  • Religious Groups
  • Religious entrepreneurship

Key publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

(Forthcoming) Shmushko, Kai. "Enchanted Commodities or Cultural Elements?- Lay Han Practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism and “Living Hall” model (Shenghuo guan 生活)"

2021 Shmushko, Kai. (2021). “On Face Masks as Buddhist Merit: Buddhist
Responses to COVID-19. A Case Study of Tibetan Buddhism in Shanghai”, Journal of Global Buddhism 22: 19-28. DOI: 10.5281/ zenodo.4727565.

2021 Shmushko, Kai. (2021). "The Multiple Dialectics of a Text and Author—A study on Seng Zhao’s Non-complete Emptiness (Bu zhenkong lun)" Religions 2021, 12(7), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070462

2021 Shmushko, Kai. (2021) Review of  Buddhism After Mao: Negotiations, Continuities, and Reinventions. Edited by Ji Zhe, Gareth Fisher and André Laliberté. Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies 16, 2021. 1-12.

Under Peer-Review

Shmushko, Kai. Cyber modalities, Community practice, and Religious Tourism among Han Chinese practicing Tibetan Buddhism. (Under peer review).

Invited Lectures

2020 “Towards an Understanding of the Grey Religious Market of China" Workshop: When a new Generation comes up: Buddhist Leadership and Lay People in Contemporary China”, Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, Hamburg University

2017 Multiple Dialectics in the Buzhenkonglun. Fudan Fellows lectures, Fudan University, Shanghai,  Department of Philosophy

Conference Paper Presentations (selected)

(Forthcoming) “Religious Responses to COVID-19- A case study of Face Masks as Buddhist Merit“  American Academy of Religion:  2021 Annual Meetings (AAR), San Antonio, Texas

2021 “Tibetan Buddhism in Resilient Modalities; Lay Groups and the "Living Hall" (Shenghuo guan 生活馆) Model “  18th Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions, Pisa

2021 “Tea as a Pacifying Agent between Buddhisms and State in the People's Republic of China.”   East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion  (EASSSR) Annual Conference, Jeju National University, Republic of Korea (Online).

2020 “Enchanted Commodities or Cultural Elements?  Exploring Lay Tibetan Buddhism in China through the “Living Hall” (Shenghuo guan 生活馆) model” “American Academy of Religion:  2020 Virtual Annual Meetings ” (AAR)

2019 “Tantric Lay Practice and the Formation Urban Buddhist Communities: a case study from Shanghai “Sinophone Studies in Europe and the Americas” (SEA), Taipei, Taiwan

2019 “Exploration of the Epistemological Toolbox in the Buzhenkonglun《不真空論》” (ISCP) International Society for Chinese Philosophy, Bern, Switzerland 2019    
2019 “Between the Tibetan plateau to residential Shanghai" interactions, Connections and Collisions within the Asian Sphere, Hebrew University- Jerusalem, Israel

2018 “Earthly or Transcendental? Sensuality or Asceticism? Scholar or Monk?– Seng Zhao and the Buzhenkonglun” Buddhism and East Asian Cultures Conference, Zhu Lin Academy, Wutaishan, China.

2018 “Dialectic Reading Of the Buzhenkonglun” UBC International Program in Buddhism and East-Asian Cultures- University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada

Guest Researcher

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet
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